by Michael Burgan (3rd+)
Young Charlie O’Leary is determined to find himself a job working on one of the Civil War ships. He has tried to enlist before but has been told that he is too young and too small. One of his goals is to find his brother Johnnie who enlisted on a ship the year before. Charlie eventually finds himself on the Varuna, the ship owned by Captain S. Boggs, as a powder monkey. A powder monkey was the person who was in charge of making sure there was always powder for the cannons when it was needed. Charlie’s size came in wonderfully because the powder monkey had to be able to fit through some pretty small passages in order to get the powder and he had to be able to run it back to the men quickly. Once out at sea Charlie finds himself right in the middle of a major battle. During the battle, the Varuna is hit by cannonball fire and several of the men are injured. Charlie takes it upon himself to help shoot the cannons. Will Charlie be able to save the ship and the men aboard and will he find his brother alive? Read Hot Iron: The Adventures of a Civil War Powder Boy by Michael Burgan to find out.
**Civil War facts and terminology in the back of the book as well as questions,
writing prompts, and internet sites.